Ryan Madson declines $11M mutual option for 2013

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The Reds wouldn’t have picked it up anyway, so right-hander Ryan Madson beat the team to the punch on Wednesday night and declined his half of an $11 million mutual option for the 2013 season.

This according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Madson gets a hefty $2.5 million buyout and will officially become a free agent this Saturday.

The 32-year-old missed the entire 2012 season following Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery, but he began throwing recently and is hoping to be completely recovered by the start of spring training.

Madson registered a 2.37 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 62/16 K/BB ratio across 60 2/3 innings for the Phillies in 2011 while converting 32-of-34 save chances. He boasts a 2.89 ERA in 329-plus innings since the start of 2007.

The Reds have interest in re-signing him, though they probably won’t offer him the opportunity to close.

The Twins didn’t listen to CC Sabathia’s wishes concerning bunting

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Earlier this month, Yankees starter CC Sabathia jawed at the Red Sox after Eduardo Nunez laid down a bunt. Sabathia fielded it fine, but threw the ball away for an error. After the game, he called Nunez’s bunt “weak” and said the Red Sox should “swing the bat.” Sabathia, of course, is not that limber these days. Along with being 37 years old, the lefty has also battled knee and hamstring issues this season.

The Twins apparently didn’t hear what Sabathia had to say about bunting. After Brian Dozier singled off of Sabathia to lead off the top of the first inning on Tuesday, Joe Mauer laid down a bunt on the third base side and reached safely. Jorge Polanco then laid down a bunt of his own, also on the third base side, and was initially ruled out, but after replay review was ruled safe to load the bases with no outs.

Fortunately for Sabathia, he was able to limit the damage, getting Eduardo Escobar to ground into a run-scoring 6-4-3 double play and inducing an inning-ending ground out from Byron Buxton. It’ll be interesting, though, to see if the Twins continue to bunt against Sabathia throughout the night.

Jake Arrieta to return to Cubs’ rotation on Thursday

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Cubs starter Jake Arrieta has been out over two weeks with a strained right hamstring, but he’s ready to return to action. The right-hander threw a bullpen on Tuesday and it went well, so he will start in Thursday’s series opener against the Brewers in Milwaukee, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports.

Arrieta, 31, returns with a 14-9 record, a 3.48 ERA, and a 157/53 K/BB ratio in 160 1/3 innings. If he stays on schedule, he’ll make three starts through the end of the regular season, including the regular season finale on October 1 against the Reds.

Arrieta is expected to max out at 75-80 pitches on Thursday and will ramp up through the end of the month.